Saturday, September 17

Farewell (This may be the end...)

Ever felt like you couldn't reach a live person who could help?  Well, that's me right now.  I've been getting emails from Google that this domain registration renewal failed due to nonpayment.  I would love to pay Google the $10 to renew the domain, but I can't figure out how.  My domain isn't listed anywhere when I try to log into my Google accounts.  I'm stumped.  Since the site has always just automatically renewed, I've never needed to log in to update my information.

It's been great revealing my personal finances, frugal ways and mystery shopping exploits.  However, come October 21, might disappear.

So, farewell.  I'll miss you guys.

Saturday, September 3

My Frugal Miser - August Expenses: $4,975

August was a mixed bag.  Since we were away most of the month, my auto expenses were very low.  Of the $702 in auto expenses, $400 was to purchase Shell Fuel Rewards cards on Groupon.  I haven't begun redeeming those.  At the end of the month I had to get a tooth extracted.  I opted for a bone graft as well to prepare the area for a dental implant, which comes at a huge cost if I decide to do it.  We spent much more on vacation than I anticipated.  I decided to splurge on several excursions since we may not ever make it to Europe again.

Food spending was the only other unusually high category.  Nutrisystem "force shipped" a 30 day supply of food.  I still have the first 30 day supply they sent.  Guess I should start my diet.

August Expenses:  $4,975

$702 Auto ($487 gas, $11 repairs/maintenance, $204 depreciation)
$85 Bank Fees

$0 Clothing
$0 Computer
$106 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$561 Food
$13 Gifts Given
$16 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$52 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expense
$212 Interest Expense*
$1,132 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$0 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$61 Uber/Lyft Expenses (excluding fuel and depreciation)
$182 Utilities
$1,854 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In August I paid $170 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Thursday, September 1

My Frugal Miser - August Income: $7,320

August was an okay month for income, especially since we were in Europe almost three weeks.

Much of the income was from work I did in July, especially on the mystery shopping side.  I have been successful picking up hours delivering for Amazon.  Rental income was especially low.  One of my management companies made the August rent deposit in September.  The townhouse was vacant, but the good news is that a new tenant just moved in.  I have one other vacancy, and it is one of the higher income properties.  I won't be able to list it for rent until next week after carpet is installed.

August Income $7,320

$943 Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$273 Uber
$202 Lyft
$282 Amazon Deliveries
$3,140 Rental Income
$1 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$2,250 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$229 Other Sources

  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work. 

Monday, August 29

Here's How You Can Get $80 in Shell Gas for $45.24 (Expires Soon!)

Right now at Groupon, you can pre-pay for $80 worth of gas for $52:  that's a 35% discount on the price of gas.  To sweeten the deal, Ebates is offering 9% back on deals at Groupon today, saving you another $4.68.   Since Winn-Dixie (and some other supermarkets) gives a 4% rebate towards Shell gas when you purchase a gift card, I bought Groupon gift cards there first.  This saved me another $2.08.  I also receive 5 Hilton Honors points for every $1 I spend on my American Express, so each deal (I bought 8 deals) earned me 260 Hilton Honors points.

Bottom Line:  for $80 in gas, I paid $45.24 and received 260 HHonors Points
Note:  The gas is rewarded as $1 off per gallon up to 20 gallons.  I use gas cans when I fill up to guarantee I get the full benefit of this offer.  ETA:  After calling Fuel Rewards, the cards were added to my account in such a way that I am not limited to just redeeming $1 per 20 gallons.  I can stack these cards, so if gas costs $2/gallon, I can redeem $2 off per gallon for up to 20 gallons.